Sponsor the 2017 Rachel Carson Trail Challenge!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy, Inc. (RCTC) is a nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to the development, protection, and promotion of hiking, biking, and walking trails in western Pennsylvania. The RCTC manages and maintains three regional trails:

  • The Harmony Trail follows sections of the former Harmony interurban trolley line that ran between Pittsburgh, Evans City, Butler and New Castle in the early 20th century. The Conservancy has developed a one-mile segment between Route 910 and Richard Road in Wexford, and envisions extensions both north and south.
  • The Rachel Carson Trail is a 38-mile hiking trail north and east of Pittsburgh between two Allegheny County Parks—North Park, in the county’s northcentral area and Harrison Hills County Park in it's extreme northeast corner. Running near to or through numerous suburban areas, most sections of the trail are enjoyed daily by the regional population.
  • The Baker Trail is a 133-mile hiking and backpacking trail, following forest paths, old jeep trails and dirt roads through woods, farmlands, along rivers and creeks. The southern trailhead is near Freeport, the northern trailhead is just inside the Allegheny National Forest. Shelters and primitive campsites accommodate hikers on this state-designated hiking trail.

The Conservancy's two flagship annual events are:

  • The Rachel Carson Trail Challenge is a one-day endurance hike on nearly the entire trail. Since its inception 21 years ago, thousands of outdoor enthusiasts from Pennsylvania and many other states have gathered in June to challenge their endurance and willpower as well as celebrate healthy physical outdoor activity enjoy western Pennsylvania’s varied natural landscape. RCTC volunteers stage and manage the entire event, from on-line registration and coordination to Challenge day participant support and the finish line picnic. Shorter options include an 18-mile Homestead Challenge and a 7-mile Friends & Family Challenge. The latter is targeted at getting parents with children outside to spend the day together, working toward a shared goal.
  • The Baker Trail UltraChallenge is a 50-mile ultramarathon on the Baker Trail. Unlike the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge, this is a timed footrace; the "challenge" is for a runner or relay team to win, or at least finish within 14 hours. Again, the RCTC produces and coordinates this grueling event.

Our goals/your opportunities for 2017

In addition to on-going trail maintenance projects, and staging annual events and other community activities, the Conservancy’s goals for 2017 include plans to establish an interconnected trail system by acquiring land use permissions to create a six-mile extension linking the Rachel Carson Trail to the Harmony Trail; link the Rachel Carson Trail and Baker Trail together; and link all three trails to existing informal local trail networks, thereby enhancing the access and utilization of these trails and local trails in general.

Your generous support in 2016 of the Conservancy’s 20th anniversary created an energetic momentum that has played an essential role in the opportunity for our 100%-volunteer organization to envision thoughtful plans and realistic, achievable goals that will enhance the quality of life in our region in a variety of tangible, wholesome, and healthy recreational ways. Just as our dedicated volunteer efforts are on-going for 2017 and beyond, so is the vital need for your commitment in the form of financial support. As the RCTC sincerely thanks you for the success of our 2016 Anniversary Sponsorship program, we also ask for your partnership with this, our 2017 sponsorship request.

Many of our sponsorship partners such as yourself have a personal interest in maintaining these important resources, and so we are pleased to offer to you a number of benefits we are confident you and your organization will enjoy as a way of thanking you and acknowledging to the community your gracious support.

Please commit to one of a convenient variety of support levels suggested and receive a variety of attractive benefits!

— With sincere thanks and gratitude,
Doug MacPhail, Sponsorship Chair